Jobs Steps Down

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple as part of the NeXT acquisition in February of 1997, AAPL was trading around $4 a share.

When he took over as "Interim CEO" in July of that year, it was trading around $3.60.

When he resigned his position as CEO today after 14 years in the role, the stock closed at $376.18, a hundredfold increase, and with a market capitalization greater than almost every other company on the planet.

Steve Jobs is almost a cartoon character at this point, but behind the black turtleneck and the keynotes and all the other things that people associate with the guy there is a businessman who turned around a very weak and struggling company and made it the most valuable company in the entire technology industry. How that happened, even if it was an unconventional approach, will be studied and emulated for generations simply because of the Cinderella story that it tells.

The leadership style, talent recognition and acquisition, operational structure, and market approach all play into Apple's resurrection story and I believe that hasn't really been told yet. If nothing else, Apple's massive success under Steve Jobs proves again that one route to building a great business is to start with an unrelenting focus on creating products people want.

It might seem unlikely that eventually there'll be business school lectures, textbook chapters, and Masters Theses dedicated to Apple's turnaround and success. But I'm sure that just as today we hear mythical tales of Henry Ford building the first modern assembly line, in 100 years I'm sure there'll be stories about the tech giants that we are witnessing and the ways that they are innovating business.